From The High Court To The Dung Basket
When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. — Acts 9:23-27
It's funny how Saul went from the top rung to the bottom rung in a very short period of time. He went from the one plotting against to being the one plotted against. He went from the highest religious court in the land to the dung basket. Literally, he ran for his life from his own court by being lowered in a basket down the city wall that held trash and dung. It sounds like a pretty crappy situation if you ask me. And we may laugh, but it's not all that funny when it happens to us. Is it?
Since 2019 a new phenomenon has taken our world by storm — "cancel culture." This event occurs when a person or group deviates from an acceptable norm resulting in a collective canceling by an opposing group. For the most part, mainstream media and social media cancel culture have been very successful in inciting fear by using public shame. And it's emboldened some people and caused others to run for their lives.
But as we see in this text, this "cancel culture" is not some new idea. Saul was canceled. In the worst way. By his own people. And not because he did something politically malicious or sexually inappropriate but because he testified to something he had seen — the risen Jesus. And now, the blasphemy he punished others for was the message he proclaimed. And this was his burden to bear. And for many days, months, and years, Jews and Christians alike had a tough time accepting Saul. Yes, years!
So how do we overcome the fear and shame of cancel culture when we know our beliefs and actions are right and righteous? Now I am talking about being canceled for doing and speaking right, not doing and speaking wrong. So how do we overcome the fear and shame of this present cultural phenomenon?
Well, the only way to do that is with another Christian brother. When we feel like life has canceled us and are being lowered into dung by a dung basket, we need to link arms with another man. Someone who cares about us and will advocate for our best interests. A man who will step in and speak up for us as Barnabas does here. This one-man, Barnabas, altered the validity of Saul's testimony and thus the course of his Christian ministry forever.
In our present day, the only way through the cultural challenges we are encountering is together with other followers. It's together with other men who believe in the truth and a risen Savior. And this leaves me with only one question for you. Who is your Barnabas?
ASK THIS: Who is your Barnabas? (Share their name below)
DO THIS: Find him or thank this man today!
PRAY THIS: God, bring a God-fearing older man into my life today that believes in me and who I can grow to be in Christ. A man who will advocate for me and the man you want me to be. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Brother — Need to Breathe.
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